San Miguel de Allende at long last!

by Cat Calhoun
San Miguel de Allende, GTO, México

It was supposed to be a blissfully short drive today. Then again, yesterday was supposed to be six hours, but with road delays it became closer to nine, so why should today be any different? After a lovely light breakfast of toast with marmalade and coffee at Las Palmas, we packed everyone back in the car and headed out toward San Miguel de Allende. The cats were not delighted to be back in the car after such a long day yesterday so they told us about their displeasure for a while. We shared the sentiment, but expressed our tiredness with the whole thing in occasional curse words instead of meows.

I won’t bore you with the details, but here are the highlights of yet another six hour stretch in the USS Hermione.

San Luis Potosi
The city, not the state. Way bigger than I remembered and looks like a pretty cool place….unless you’re looking at the almost never-ending industrial area. That just looks like an industrial area. You can’t quite tell how huge it is, but this is a mammoth monument to Benito Juarez. What an awesome thing to do in one of those weird in-between-highway-overpasses area that is usually wasted space. Nice work, SLP.

Mexico No Filters - Benito Juarez monument in San Luis Potosi, SLP, México

Joshua Trees for days!
First, they are mammoth. Second, they literally go on for days. We started seeing forests of them yesterday. This trend did not cease today. They stretched as far as we could see on both sides of the highway.

Mexico No Filters - Joshua Trees in San Luis Potosi state

Traffic delays
We added at least 2 hours to our drive just sitting in standstill traffic. I thought Austin Texas was the capitol of highway construction. I was wrong. It’s Mexico. It went on for hours at a stretch. Massive, melodramatic wrecks also cause long traffic backups. I’m not talking about fender benders, but semi trucks hitting something (or perhaps each other) so severely that they seemed to disintegrate on the road.

Guanajuato State!
Finally! We’ve been trying to get back here for more than a year. And of course, we did it in yet another traffic delay.

Mexico No Filters - Traffic delays due to construction entering Guanajuato State from San Luis Potosi

We rolled into San Miguel de Allende just before sunset (yes, this is a trend with us) in time to unpack the car and collapse. Our flat is located in an artists’ compound filled with painters. There place is lovely and is located at the end of a dead-end street next to a home for little kids who have nowhere to go, a midwife school, and a church. It’s a great location and the apartment is beautiful.

For now, enjoy a few more photographs of our place and of San Miguel and I’ll write/photograph more when I recover more fully from that drive!

Mexico No Filters - our flat in San Miguel de Allende
Our flat is upstairs. Yes, all of it. Be jealous. It’s cool.

Mexico No Filters - stained glass windows in our flat in San Miguel de Allende
From my terrace looking into the stained glass windows at night.
Mexico No Filters - traditional domed brick ceiling
This is our ceiling, a traditional domed ceiling. Ain’t it cool?
Mexico No Filters - our kitchen
Our kitchen at night. It has a view of the city. Fun to watch the lights twinkle as we cook dinner at night.

Mountains and Matehuala

by Cat Calhoun
Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, México

After the sadness of the coyote and the horses we settled into a kind of sad numbness that comes with flat terrain, scrubby brush, and a harsh climate that is constantly breaking down anything built by human hands. Time and time again we saw horses and cows tethered in the median between north and southbound lanes of Autopista 85D. Occasionally we would see a flock of goats or sheep with a shepherd in the median. At first it’s a little shocking to fly down a toll road at 110 km/h (roughly 65mph) and pass livestock less than a meter (roughly 3 feet) away, but even this begins to seem normal after a while and the boredom of flat terrain takes over again.

When the outline of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range appeared on the horizon north of Monterrey, they were a welcome sight and supplied consistent beauty filled with craggy peaks and huge rolling green foothills. Caracaras, ravens, and the occasional golden eagle roamed the skies above the mountains and my spirits lifted.

Mexico No Filters - Sierra Madre range north of Monterrey

I don’t like driving at night and I’ve been told it’s not wise to travel the roads in Mexico after sunset, so I was grateful to arrive at our overnight stop, Matehuala, just at sunset. We checked into Las Palmas, a nice place that looks like it was transported right off of Route 66 and right out of the 1950s. It was clean and comfortable and the management was happy to accommodate both us and our cats. The cats settled in quickly and were chowing dinner when we decided to follow suit.

Mexico No Filters - Las Palmas in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, México

We went to the restaurant where a very professional gentleman by the name of Lorenzo completely took care of us. We feasted on guacamole, beans, a delicious rice dish with poblano peppers, vegetables, and amazing salsa. We chased it all with two drinks each then we wandered happily back to our room and fell into a restful deep sleep, hoping for a short drive to finish the trip in the morning.

Mexico No Filters - Las Palmas Restaurant in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi, México

While we are sleeping please take a moment to enjoy some of the cool things we passed on our way today.

Mexico No Filters - So many trucks
It’s intimidating to be a relatively tiny passenger vehicle among giants! But this is a major shipping route from the United States to Mexico City, so it was truck city in many places.
Mexico No Filters - Organpipe cactus fence
We saw many livestock fences made from mammoth stands of prickly pear, joshua trees, and organpipe cactus (like this one).
Mexico No Filters - Roadside shrine
There are many roadside shrines in Mexico. This one is my favorite so far. It’s so geologically interesting I would have done likewise.
Mexico No Filters - Bienvenidos a San Luis Potosi
San Luis Potosi is one of the states in Mexico and is where Matehuala is located.

Goodnight everyone.